Mobile Printing: Discover your mobile style to keep your workforce moving
Whether you’re on the road, making a scrap book or just want a printer that’s small enough to move from room to room, there’s a compact printer for you. Grabbing a portable printer isn’t likely to be at the top of your list when packing up for a trip, but you never know when you’re going to need to print a contract, photo or invoice. When the moment calls, you want to be ready regardless if you are printing from a computer, laptop or smartphone.
Your mobile style
Portable printers serve two main kinds of buyer. The first is the business user who works on the road—often, out of a vehicle—and needs a means of outputting bills of sale, contracts, proposals, and other hard copy on a moment’s notice. If your line of work involves visiting clients and getting them to sign on the dotted line, on the spot, a portable printer may be a tool that you didn’t know you needed in your box.
The second is the photo enthusiast or snapshot hound seeking to print from any locale and pass out his or her prints right away. This could also be a photo professional who wants to hand off samples of his or her work. Maybe it’s a scrapbooker who wants to generate quick prints at a meet. Or it could simply be the photo buff in your household who wants to hand Aunt Jeanie and Uncle Joe mementos at the next family gathering. It’s especially useful for shots taken right at the time and made for relatives who are less tech-savvy and thus less likely to print out their own keepsakes from digital files.
Because of these two very different kinds of buyers, portable printers come in two main classes: business-centric inkjets, and photo-centric inkjet or thermal-dye printers. My list takes the best portable printers that can fit into a backpack and squeeze onto a hotel or office desk, and organizes them according to mobility styles. What mobile printer fits your work style?
Epson WorkForce WF-100
Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 was released a few years ago, but has continued to outshine the competition as an excellent wireless mobile printer. At just 12.2 x 6.1 x 2.4 inches and 3.5 pounds, it’s as lightweight as the Canon, though slightly larger overall. Size aside, the Epson is capable of printing directly from a PC, as well as iOS and Android devices through WiFi connectivity. Printing itself offers both black ink and color cartridges with a rating of 250 and 200 pages, respectively, which is more than enough for printing out the latest invoices, contracts or spreadsheets that might be required on-the-go.
When it comes to true portability, the 20-sheet capacity can handle life on the road by printing 100 black and white pages (and 50 color pages) while operating strictly on the battery. Prior to printing, the Epson requires a brief setup run-through via the small 1.4-inch color LCD display. It’s less than ideal sizing for a desktop printer, but, for a printer built for portability, the LCD display assists with all the necessary functionality.
HP Office Jet 150
HP’s OfficeJet 150 might be a few years old, but this mobile wireless color printer is more than just a battery-friendly printer. It pulls double duty as a copier, too. With print speed of 22 black and white pages per minute and 18 color pages per minute alongside a 50 sheet input tray, the OJ 150 is among the fastest portable printers available in today’s market. At just 6.8-pounds and 14 x 7 x 3.5 inches in space, the OfficeJet 150 offers an excellent machine for road warriors who need a device that’s capable of handling printing on demand without requiring a separate suitcase. The battery life offers up to 500 prints. Additionally, the OfficeJet 150 is ready for up to five black and white and 3.5 color copies per minute. Unfortunately, the 150 does lack WiFi, but it offers Bluetooth connectivity for pseudo-wireless printing directly from a Bluetooth-compatible device.
Best for Portability
At just 2.6-pounds and 11.4 x 1.8 x 6.5-inches, Primera’s Trio portable scanner tours itself as being the “world’s smallest and lightest portable all-in-one.” It’s capable of printing, scanning and copying documents all while on-the-go in a size that’s compact enough to fit into a messenger bag. The separately purchased battery makes it even more ideal for on-the-go use (the fully charged battery provides up to 350 prints before requiring a recharge). Additionally, the Primera will hold up to 10 pages of standard printer paper at one time, shooting out 3.1 black and white and 2.4 color print pages per minute. As for additional features, the Primera’s ability to copy black and white images at 1.7 and 1.1 color pages per minute won’t make it a speed demon, but that’s a tradeoff for portability. Unfortunately, for the price of the Primera, there’s a bit of a disappointment not to see WiFi or Bluetooth support for wireless printing (you’ll need a USB connection).
Best on a Budget
While it doesn’t offer the same compact form factor, Canon’s IP2820 weighs five pounds and measures just 16.8 x 9.3 x 5.3 inches, so it’s still plenty portable. With features such as Quiet Mode, it’s perfect for printing anytime, anywhere without waking up the family or the guests in the hotel room next to you. Additionally, if you’re a Canon camera user, you can sync a captured video with the IP2820 via the included Full HD Movie Print software and turn the results into fantastic looking still photos.
Printing itself happens with a 60-sheet auto feeder that turns out approximately eight black and white and four color pages every minute. Unfortunately, the IP2820 lacks WiFi connectivity, so there’s no printing directly from a smartphone or tablet since it requires a USB connection to a PC or Mac. However, the inclusion of features such as Auto Power On, which automatically boots the printer whenever a photo or document is sent to be printed, is a nice addition at such a budget-friendly price tag
Best for Photos
Canon Selphy CP1200
If printing photos is your main concern, then Canon’s Selphy CP1200 is the absolute go-to printer that’s both stylish and portable. Weighing just 1.9 pounds and measuring 7.1 x 5.4 x 2.5 inches, the Selphy is among the most compact of photo printers that still offers a multitude of print size options. The optional battery handily turns the Selphy into an even more portable selection (there’s enough printing power for up to 54 prints on a single charge). Additionally, the inclusion of WiFi helps enable prints from anywhere in the house or office, plus with features such as AirPrint, printing directly from an Apple device is a cinch.
While the portability of the Selphy is a big draw, the inclusion of prints that are water-resistant and capable of lasting up to 100 years is hard to ignore. Printing itself takes place in around 47 seconds with ink and paper kits that are available to print sets of 18, 36 or 54 photos. All that ink and paper will assist the Selphy with multiple size results including card size (2.1 x 2.4 inches), postcard (3.9 x 5.8 inches), square label (2 x 2 inches) and even a more traditional large size (3.5 x 4.7 inches).
The Selphy also includes additional features to further personalize each print. You can create a collage directly from the printer with a 2.7-inch display guiding the way and even print Facebook and Instagram photos directly from a smartphone or tablet with Canon’s optional Selphy app.
Best for Home Office
HP Deskjet 3755
At 5.1-pounds and measuring 15.86 x 6.97 x 5.55 inches, the HP DeskJet 3755 won’t feel as mobile as our overall winners, but its positioning by HP as an ultra-compact all-in-one is worth noting. Far smaller than most traditional desktop printers, the HP won’t fit comfortably into a backpack, but if you’re on a road trip and want something powerful without compromise, the 3755 is perfect for sticking into your car, setting up at a hotel or coffee shop and printing before that big meeting. Additionally, printing using a smartphone or tablet is offered through a variety of methods, including WiFi, HP’s reprint app and Wireless Direct, which offers a direct connection to the printer in the absence of any WiFi signal.
If its size doesn’t win you over, it’s 50 percent savings on traditional ink costs just might. An optional subscription even allows your printer to detect when it’s low on ink and place a new order before you run out altogether. Setup out of the box is a snap, too. Just pull the printer out, power it on, connect to a device and print away. As for prints itself, the 3755 offers a respectable eight pages per minute for black and white prints, as well as 5.5 pages per minute for color copies.
HP Officejet 250
If you’re looking for the most feature-rich portable printer money can buy, the HP OfficeJet 250 is your best bet. While its price tag might cause you to do a double take, the OfficeJet 250 is portable printing whenever you need it. Just stick it into a backpack or suitcase and you’re ready for on-the-go prints. Beyond printing, the OfficeJet 250 takes the portable printer feature set to another level with all-in-one features such as scanning and faxing in package that’s just 6.5 pounds and 7.8 x 15 x 3.6 inches. Even with a small size, the OfficeJet 250 delivers added portability with a battery for up to 500 prints when disconnected from a power outlet and a two-inch high-resolution display for selecting the appropriate-sized print.
The HP has a 10-page automatic document feeder and 50-sheet capacity that produces both letter and legal-sized prints up to 8.5 x 14 inches. The included black cartridge is capable of 200 pages and the tri-color cartridge lasts for around 165 pages before requiring new ink. HP also sells a separately purchased XL version of the OfficeJet 250 ink cartridges bumping the page results to 600 and 415 pages, respectively. With added features such as WiFi and Bluetooth, printing from a smartphone or laptop is easy courtesy of HP’s native ePrint app available for both Android and iOS.
By, Sahmra A. Stevenson, Esq.
S.A. Stevenson Law Offices, LLC
Email: s.stevenson@saslawOffices.com; Twitter: @SAS_Law; IG: SahmraStevensonEsq; Facebook: @SASLawOffices; www.saslawoffices.com; www.officewithoutwalls.org